2017 DAME Design Awards Jury changes unveiled

The METSTRADE team at RAI Amsterdam announced that international yacht interior designer and engineer Birgit Schnaase has been appointed chair of the DAME Design Awards Jury and Olivier Racopeau of Berret-Racopeau Yacht Design, Davide Cipriani of Centrostiledesign and Yachting World editor Elaine Bunting have all been appointed as new DAME Awards Jury members.

Schnaase succeeds Bill Dixon, who expressed the wish to step down following METSTRADE last year, after completing a successful decade chairing the jury. Birgit was then approached to take on the role, because of her very valuable insights and leadership skills on the DAME Jury since 2012. The METSTRADE team said her 22 years of experience as an engineer and interior designer working on notable yacht, aircraft and house interior design projects will be much valued as she chairs the jury from 2017.

“I was very honored to be asked to take this role,” said Schnaase. “METSTRADE is the most important show worldwide for marine products and the DAME Awards is the only competition I know that does not just look at whether a product is beautiful. It assesses every aspect of its design, such as durability, innovation, functionality and whether it is likely to work well for the end user. This is important in a challenging world of changing customer expectation.

“I did take some time to consider the role before agreeing,” Schnaase added, “but in truth I could not say no. I have long stated that there should be more females working in the field of yacht and superyacht building, because women massively influence buying decisions across the marine market. We need more people involved who understand female preferences, so that they can appropriately shape our products and designs. This is my mantra and I hope that the organizer’s decision to invite me to become jury chair for the world’s highest profile marine design competition will encourage many more women to join the sector.”

livier Racopeau, Davide Cipriani and Elaine Bunting bring with them insight into yacht design, industrial design and user experience. They will join current jury members Bénéteau Group Brand Manager Jean François Premorel, Arjen Jansen from TU Delft University, ICOMIA’s Technical Manager Patrick Hemp, independent marine technical journalist Nigel Calder and IBI Associate Editor Dennis O’Neill.

“We review the DAME Awards annually, to ensure it continues to brilliantly promote the benefits of great design in all of its aspects among the more than 15,000 companies that exhibit and visit in Amsterdam each year. It was outgoing Chair Bill Dixon’s suggestion, and motivation for his retirement from the chair, that we should look to refresh the jury members more frequently,” said Kim Hollamby, the non-voting DAME Secretary appointed to support the jury and organizers. “His vision was to ensure that the DAME Awards always benefits from new insight and the broadest possible knowledge available. We took his advice and our proposals for shorter jury terms, plus the resulting changes to three jury members this year, were approved by the METSTRADE Exhibition Committee.”

“It’s a strong indicator of the high value of the DAME Awards in the eyes of the industry, that so many of the sector’s leading names in their field have voluntarily served on the jury throughout its history,” said Group Director Maritime for RAI Amsterdam Irene Dros. “We want to acknowledge the incredible contribution made to the DAME Awards by Bill Dixon, as well as by our valued outgoing jury members Torsten Conradi of Judel/Vrolijk & co Engineering GmbH, Andrea Frabetti of Diesel Center SPA and Japec Jakopin of J&J Design. We’re very much looking forward to welcoming our new jury members and working with our new chair Birgit Schnaase as she brings her proven skills and perspective to the DAME Awards this year.”

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